The Liberty Fire Company # 4 of Schuylkill Haven starts its history way back in the year 1908. The organization originated in its exact location that it holds today. The address is recognized as 223 Columbia Street, but nobody really knows if that was the address in 1908. It was a single two-story dwelling, the same as the main building today. On the first floor, there was a double swinging garage door in which the apparatus was kept. However, in those days, a team of horses from the Faust Garage had to be brought to the firehouse in order for the fire engines to respond to the call. Sketchy details from 11 “old war stories” tell us that there was no room or money for their own horse team. So a kind member who operated a garage loaned the Liberty his team to transport the equipment.
However, due to extensive remodeling, moving to and fro, the records of the Liberty Fire Company # 4 cannot be found from 1908 to 1916.
In the year 1916, not many logs or records can be obtained except that the fire chief on record was a man named Charles Faust. (Perhaps the owner of the horse team). The president or the organization was Martin Kerschner. A list of names and dates follow this history of presidents and chiefs from 1916 to present. However, some highlights should be brought to the attention of the public. For instance, there is 82 years more of recorded history. In those 82 years, the Liberty Fire Company has had a total of 11 presidents. Jacob Moyer ruled in the fire company from 1923 until 1951. A total of 26 years of loyal, faithful and unselfish service. There was 2 years however, in 1947 and 1948 when Theodore Umbenhaurer was president. However Jacob Moyer came back in 1949 to finish his 26 years of service.
Ironic as it may seem, Jacob Moyer is indeed a legend in the Liberty Fire Company history.
Lyman Ketner succeeded Jacob Moyer in 1952 and served for 20 years. In 1972, Guy Miner replaced “Lymie” after his retirement of his position. Guy Miller presided until 1980, when Ivor Griffiths took the reign for a 3-year period, until resigning his control to Robert (Boat) Peel. “Boat” held the office from 1983 till 1985. Guy Miller was back in as President from 1986 till 1988, when Mark (Gomer) Krammes took control from 1988 to 1991. William Quinter took over from 1991 to 1993. Leroy Boyer served for a few years until Jason (Slink) Sterner took over. The current Liberty President for past few years has been Michael Gossard.
Thirteen (13) Chiefs gave orders over the past 67 years, names changed rather often, but some significant time span are noticeable. William Umbenhaurer was Chief from 1935 to 1943; Jacob Moyer from 1944 to 1951. Ebner Reber then took over for 10 years until Glenn (Satty) Sattizahn Sr, honored us with his knowledge as the supreme leader. In 1963, Satty took over as Assistant Chief of the boro, giving his Chief’s job over to Ed Hornacek, who held the title: Fire Chief from 1969 to 1982, when John (Dunk) Dohner took control, Steve Schnoke, Bob (Boat) Peel, Andy Motko took the position of Chief and finally Rick Kremer, who is Chief today.
As far as equipment goes for the Liberty Fire Company, they had very “thin clad” years. A report found, dating back to the 1916 to 1918 period, was very discouraging to those that were interested. It read that, the chief of Schuylkill Haven, after inspecting the 4 firehouses, found that the Liberty Fire Company #4 was inoperable at fires, due to the fact that they had only “I” nozzle for the firehouse.
Times changed, and on a October day in 1921, the Liberty Fire Company 44 accepted delivery on a Hahn Chemical Engine, in which they paid $3,250.00, their first motored fire apparatus. In March 1929, they purchased their 2nd Hahn chemical Wagon for the low cost of $3,775.00. Many stories have been told about these 2 pieces of Firefighting Memorabilia, how the chemicals had to be mixed and what happened if they were not mixed correctly. But it was not until November of 1948, the Liberty Fire Company purchased their first modern fire apparatus. A 1948 Mack 750 gpm pumper. Although the price was substantially higher at $15,585.00, they could not compare in operability with the chemical wagons. This truck is still in operating condition today and is privately owned by Jeff Jones of Orwigsburg. Nine years later, the Liberty expanded their firefighting apparatus by purchasing another Mack 750 gpm. The “57″ as it is known, cost the company $18,992.00 and is still in operating condition and id privately owned by Todd Evans of Tremont.
In 1975, the company took delivery of a Dodge/Car-Mar 2000 gallon Tanker-Pumper. This Tanker-Pumper served the boro and surrounding communities from 1975 to 1992.
In April of 1981, the Liberty went back to Car-Mar for their first actual “custom” Pumper. They took delivery on a windy April day of a 1981 Car-Mar Spartan Custom 1250 gpm that carried 750 gallons of water in a stainless steel tank. The truck was also equipped with 1000 foot of 5′ large diameter supply hose, as we nicked named “The Snake” for obvious reasons.
The Liberty Fire Company has tried to better itself throughout the many years, with updating the equipment, to better serve the community for which it so proudly supports them in many ways. In 1991, they started looking into purchasing a new tanker to replace the rod tanker-pumper known as Tanker 738, which by the way, was also the State Champion as a tanker. Finally in 1992, the new tanker was purchased from 4 Guys Fire Apparatus of Meyersdale. The International/4Guys, new tanker had a 2000-gallon tank, with a 5 man enclosed cab, and a 750 gpm pump. Next was the purchase of a fire truck from a man named Larry Taylor in Wysox, PA. The truck was a retired piece from the City of New York. It was a 1980 Mack, which became known as “Wagon 736″. It boasted a 1000 gpm pump with 750-gallon tank, and was able to carry 2000 foot of 5′ large diameter hose. Many individuals came to love this truck, because it was from the City of New York. A lot of work was done on this truck to get it up to the standard of today. Finally, but hopefully not last, the Liberty Fire Company purchased new 1998 UME/4 Guys, 1250 gpm Fire Engine with 750 gallon tank, and enclosed 5 man cab. This engine carries 1000 foot of 5″ large diameter hose, 1000 foot of 3″ hose, and is known today as “Engine 737″. This Engine may be small compared to the mighty pumpers that are being built today, but it gets the job done when it is called upon.
In early 2001, the Liberty Fire Company purchased a 1994 International Med-Tee Ambulance from the Schuylkill Haven Ambulance, and turned it into a squad, known today as Squad 739. This Squad carries a 3-bottle cascade system, is used as command post, rehab unit, and a dive truck, among numerous duties in which it serves.
So, that is about all that the records show of purchases and equipment that the Liberty Fire Company #4 has done throughout the 92 years of being in existence. The members are very proud ao the accomplishments they have done over the years, and look forward to many more years to come.